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State Senator Ben Hueso appears at Golden Hall on election night. / Photo by Megan Wood

This post originally appeared in the Dec. 4 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.

A former staffer in Sen. Ben Hueso’s Chula Vista office has filed a claim – a precursor to a lawsuit – against the California state Senate, Hueso and members of his staff claiming she was discriminated against and harassed based on her race.

Dawn Herndon was the first Black staffer in Hueso’s office, the claim says. It alleges she was subjected to different standards than other staffers and scrutinized more harshly, and that she was subjected to harassing comments by staffers and Hueso himself.

“While driving south on Interstate 5, Senator Hueso began to discuss UCLA’s library, stating, ‘the library is so big you can rape girls in there. They can scream and no one can hear it,’” the claim says.

Erin Hickey, a spokeswoman for Hueso, said that per Senate policy, she can’t comment on pending litigation.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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